31 October 2014

The Brickmaker's Bride by Judith Miller, Book review

  • Series: Refined by Love
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (October 7, 2014)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764212550
  • Also available in KINDLE format


(From the back cover)

In the clay-rich hills of the newly founded state of West Virginia, two families tentatively come together to rebuild a war-torn brickmaking business.

Ewan McKay has immigrated to West Virginia with his aunt and uncle, promising to trade his skills in the clay business for financial help. Uncle Hugh purchases a brickmaking operation from a Civil War widow and her daughter, and it's Ewan's job to get the company up and running again.

Ewan seeks help from Laura, the former owner's daughter, and he quickly feels a connection with her, but she's being courted by another man--a lawyer with far more social clout and money than Ewan. Resolving that he'll make the brickworks enough of a success that he can become a partner in the business and be able to afford to bring his sisters over from Ireland, Ewan pours all his energy into the new job.

But when Hugh signs a bad business deal, all Ewan's hard work is put in jeopardy. As his hopes for the future crumble, Laura reveals something surprising. Can she help him save the brickworks, and will Ewan finally get a shot at winning her heart?
"Miller launches her new Refined by Love series . . . written with an elegance that reflects the social graces of the time. Readers will enjoy intriguing themes of personal, professional, and spiritual integrity; prejudice; and caring for those in need." --Booklist

"A well-constructed plot and believable characters demonstrate why Miller is popular with fans of historical fiction and romance. The characters' faith is woven seamlessly into their actions and is organically integrated into the plot, making this title a must-read." --Library Journal starred review.

My thoughts:

This is my first novel by Judith Miller and was a very pleasant experience. I needed something entertaining, light but historically sound and The Brickmaker's Bride is all this and more.

Drawn against the background of the Civil War aftermath, this story paints a vivid portrait of the mistrust of immigrants at a time when emotions were already running high. Miller's plot was certainly engaging and her characters well defined. You cannot but have your favourites and the slow but sweet development between Ewan and Laura, the two love interests, will reach out to any romantic heart. 

Finally, the best part for me was the historical research the author has obviously done to bring readers this most solid of craftmanship, that of brick making! 

Note: This Christian novel is the first of a series called Refined by Love.

4 Stars.

(Source Richard VerValen's brickmaking machine circa 1852)

Landing page:

Meet the Author:

Judith Miller is an award-winning author whose avid research and love for history are reflected in her bestselling novels. When time permits, Judy enjoys traveling, visiting historical settings, and scrapbooking the photographs from her travel expeditions. 

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from LITFUSE PUBLICITY as part of it's promotion. I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

Happy Halloween!

And remember...

A parent or responsible adult should always accompany young children on their neighborhood rounds. 

If your older children are going alone, plan and review the route that is acceptable to you. Agree on a specific time when they should return home. 

Remain on well-lit streets and always use the sidewalk. 

Never cut across yards or use alleys.

Only go to homes with a porch light on and never enter a home or car for a treat.

Wait until children are home to sort and check treats. Though tampering is rare, a responsible adult should closely examine all treats and throw away any spoiled, unwrapped or suspicious items.  

Try to ration treats for the days following Halloween!

For more tips visit (HERE)

27 October 2014


Do not hide the treasures in your heart in fear that they will be stolen - 
instead share them and find they multiply.

25 October 2014

When Calls The Heart: Change Of Heart, DVD review

  • Studio: Millennium
  • DVD Release Date: December 30, 2014
  • Run Time: 84 minutes


From Amazon:

Elizabeth (Erin Krakow) and Jack s (Daniel Lissing) relationship blossoms into romance in Change of Heart, the fifth installment of the When Calls the Heart series. Finally winning Elizabeth over, Jack is devastated to learn of his Constable reassignment. 

When Elizabeth s sister, Julie, arrives in Coal Valley with the new Constable, Jack reluctantly tells Elizabeth the news and must leave town. Julie, ever the curious one, stumbles upon a mysterious wounded man and rushes him to Abigail s (Lori Loughlin) for care, unknowingly putting herself, Abigail and Elizabeth in grave danger at the hands of the infamous Tolliver gang. 
Hearing of their distress, Jack rides back to Coal Valley to save the women in a desperate race against time.

My thoughts:

This soon to be released episode was once more just the ticket for our little family. We have enjoyed this historically accurate rendering of the Canadian frontier particularly because of Michael Landon Jr.'s excellent directorial work and of course Janette Oke's writer skills. 
Let me add the now familiar characters of young teacher Elizabeth and Canadian Mounty Jack Thornton emerge as stellar models for any youngster and their sweet story is simply beautiful! Supporting cast such as talented Lori Loughlin who plays the part of widow Abigail Stanton only enhances the whole set up along with beautiful scenery and great costumes.

Faith based, each episode reminds us of the good in people, of what is truly at stake when we relate to others in His name. This Hallmark presentation is definitively 5 stars in our opinion
and I hope you will enjoy it as much as we did.

When Calls the Heart - Episode 12

Here is a list of those episodes I have already reviewed should you wish to check them out: 

When Calls The Heart

A Telling Silence

Lost And Found

The Dance

Second Chances

About Word Entertainment:

A leader in the music industry for over 60 years, Word Entertainment, a Warner/Curb company, is a unique, comprehensive entertainment company comprised of multi-faceted artist service departments including publishing, merchandising, booking, and online initiatives.

I received a copy of this DVD title from Edify Media Inc/Word Entertainment to review . I am disclosing this in accordance with the FTC 16 CFR, Part 255 'Guides concerning the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. I was not asked to write a positive review and all opinions expressed are entirely my own. 

22 October 2014

My Mother's Secret by J. L. Witterick, Book review

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult; 8.6.2013 edition (September 5, 2013)
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399168543
  • Also available in KINDLE format


A novel based on a true story, a mother and daughter risk their lives to provide shelter to two families and a German soldier--all unbeknownst to each other--in a tiny two-room house in Sokal, Poland, during the Nazi invasion.

Based on a true story, MY MOTHER'S SECRET is a profound, captivating, and ultimately uplifting tale intertwining the lives of two Jewish families in hiding from the Nazis, a fleeing German soldier, and the clever and "righteous" mother and daughter who teamed up to save them.

Franciszka and her daughter, Helena, are unlikely heroines. They are simple people who mind their own business and don't stand out from the crowd. Until 1939, when crisis strikes. The Nazis have invaded Poland and they are starting to persecute the Jews. Providing shelter to a Jew has become a death sentence. And yet, Franciszka and Helena decide to do just that. In their tiny, two-bedroom home in Sokal, Poland, they cleverly hide one Jewish family of two brothers and their wives in their pigsty out back, another in a makeshift cellar under the kitchen floorboards, and a defecting German soldier in the attic--each group completely unbeknownst to the others. For everyone to survive, Franciszka will have to outsmart her neighbors and the German commanders standing guard right outside her yard.

Told simply and succinctly from four different perspectives, MY MOTHER'S SECRET is a reminder that you don’t have to be extraordinary to make a difference. You can become extraordinary by making a difference.

Yad Vashem (Source Here)

My thoughts:

Beautifully crafted, this historical fiction is based on the true story of one courageous woman, Fran­ciszka Halamajowa. This amazing tale begins with the rising of the Fuhrer in a newer and stronger Germany and its eventual impact on the populations of neighbouring countries.

When Germany invaded Poland in 1938, no one could begin to imagine the horrors that would follow. It wasn't long before the High Commander issued orders allowing the systematical round up of all Jews.
This brave Polish citizen, helped by her two children, Damien and Helena, hid successfully not only Jewish neighbours but also a defecting German soldier in her tiny farmhouse outside of Sokol despite the odds. 

The particular chilling statement "Hitler invaded Poland because he thought he could get away with it." reminds us how 6 millions lives were snuffed without much opposition from the World. 

Divided in 5 chapters, each section introducing characters the author chose to highlight in this incredible heroic feat, the haunting tale of one woman's random acts of kindness in a time of unsurpassed brutality comes to light. Despite the terrible danger, Fran­ciszka 's conscience could not let her turn away the desperate Jews who turn to her for help. 

An inspirational tale of undaunted courage that needed to be told, J. L. Witterick's prose in her novel My Mother's Secret gives readers the impression she not only witnessed the years of deprivation but felt the deep anguish created by the uncertainty of tomorrow's possible turn of events in a world gone mad. 

There is no doubt this is a writer with amazing writing skills, even more so as this is her first novel!

5 Stars (I only wish I could give it more!)

(Franciszka Halamajowa - photo source Google)

Love is the only thing that you get more of when you give it away.

Meet the Author:

MY MOTHER’S SECRET, which is based on a true story, is J. L. Witterick’s debut novel.   It is a bestseller in Canada and has been published in a number of countries around the world.

For additional information visit (HERE)

Note: This was a library loan and opinions reflected are mine only.